That means new books and media will be arriving in the library soon!
Ever wondered how all those books made it to the shelves in the Thompson Library?
It’s not as simple as you might think. There are a number of steps through which each item progressed before arriving at its final destination, ready for you to use.
What is the process? Let’s start at the beginning.
Thompson Library uses a formula developed by UM-Flint faculty many years ago to fairly and equitably divide the library acquisition budget and distribute it between subjects to help ensure the library had timely research materials available in each discipline.
That formula is still used by the library today.
After the budget is determined, teaching departments are notified of amount available within their subject area.
Faculty may select book or media titles using any of several book selection tools such as Choice Reviews, or by working hand-in-glove with their librarian specialist.
When titles have been selected and sent to the liaison librarian, title information is entered into the Acquisitions Module of the central University of Michigan library management system database (ALEPH in Ann Arbor).
The books, media or online services are ordered, either directly from a specific supplier (such as the American Psychological Association) or through an aggregate supplier.
When selected materials arrive at our library, they do not go directly to shelves. They go instead to Technical Services, a unit within the library, to be processed.
Each item is individually cataloged with a unique Library of Congress call number.
Over two thirds of the work in our library is done as copy cataloging (finding and using an established LC number). The balance of the work is done as original cataloging on-site by our own cataloguers.
Copy cataloging also requires a unique “cutter number” be applied to the end of the LC number, so… lots of time and manual labor is involved in cataloging all new materials.
After cataloging, the item receives a call number label which is printed and applied (usually to the lower end of the spine or upper left corner of the front cover).
Next the item has a barcode placed on the inside front cover (for books).
The 14 digit barcode number is scanned into the computer record along with check-out status, loan period, etc.
A tattle-tape is installed and activated.
Lastly, after progressing through these many steps in Technical Services, the book is placed on the New Book Shelf (located on the 3rd floor, behind Reference desk).
New books are final-processed and sent to their permanent shelf location at the end of each semester.
As soon as an item is ordered, it appears in our familiar old friend MIRLYN, the online catalog of everything in the library, as on order.
Still in Tech Services? It may show the location as at labeling.
When checking a title in Mirlyn, be sure to verify that the item is listed as on shelf to ensure it will be available for use.
It’s a long and complicated path from selection to placement in the final shelf location in the library, but it’s a process that makes it easy for everyone to locate any book in the library quickly, efficiently and easily.
And if the library doesn’t own a desired book, a copy can usually be obtained for any student or employee via Interlibrary Loan.
— But hey, that is a story for another article …
(see next article, Library News, July 2012…)